On the Consistency and Longevity of Miroslav Klose

Many seem to have decided Miroslav Klose’s new status as the top scorer at World Cup finals is some kind of travesty. Scoring against Brazil in the semi finals, Klose overtook Ronaldo to take the record, and reacted in typically humble fashion, declaring after the match “I’m a striker and strikers want to score goals.”

Few would mention Klose and Ronaldo in the same breath, but this doesn’t mean there is nothing to say for one of the most consistent players at international level over the past decade. Klose has featured prominently for Germany at 4 World Cups, in an international career thus far spanning 13 years. There are just two European players in history with more international goals (Sander Kocsis and Ferenc Puskas, both for Hungary), and Klose sits joint 8th in the list of top international goalscorers of all time. The figure below shows how Klose’s goal total has developed since his first cap in 2001.

klosegoalsKlose’s record has hovered around a goal every other game for Germany over the course of his international career, and his record is all about consistency. He had 15 goals at 30 caps, 29 goals at 60 caps, and 52 goals after 100 caps. Between 2002 and 2004, Klose went through a period where he scored just 3 in 27, but between 2006 and 2012 his longest goal drought was just four matches. That’s pretty impressive, especially for a forward going into their 30’s.

Klose broke Gerd Muller’s record of 68 goals just prior to the World Cup in Brazil, albeit in double the number of appearances. Klose sits sixth in goals-per-game ratio for Germany, behind Muller, Uwe Seeler, Fritz Walter, Oliver Bierhoff, and Rudi Voller. Here are all 6: strikersgermGerd Muller’s line is absurdly steep- 68 goals in 62 caps; international strikers do not score like this anymore. Klose’s longevity and consistency has been key in reaching the record, and he has achieved nearly 50 more caps than any of the others here.

In fact, Klose is 2nd in Germany’s all time appearance list, behind only Lothar Matthaus, and his international career has spanned more years than the likes of Franz Beckenbauer, Jurgen Klinsmann, Michael Ballack, and Oliver Kahn. The figure below shows the span of his international career compared to the rest of the top 10 capped players for Germany.

germanyspanPeople will continue to knock him, but staying this consistent at international level into your 30’s is genuinely very special, even if your nickname isn’t El Fenomeno.

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